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'Fantastic Four' Comic Cancelled

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 7, 2014 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 7, 2014 |

The Fantastic Four comic book has been running for 53 years but it couldn’t make it a single year after the actor playing the Human Torch in the upcoming movie was announced to be black. Or rather, the actor who was announced happened to be black. They didn’t announce that Michael B. Williams was black; he had already figured that out.

Now I know a lot of you are going to say, hey, that’s got nothing to do with the cancellation. Sales of the comic have been slipping for years, complaints of the character assassination of Reed Richards have mounted, and it’s probably fair to say that if the comic didn’t have one of the most famous titles in comics history right there on the cover, it likely would have been cancelled some time ago.

But those are mundane facts, and it’s far more interesting to spin them into a narrative replete with irony and twists.

Remember all of those terribly myopic sorts of comic book nerds who started sentences with “I’m not a racist but…” and proceeded to explain why it was completely unbelievable that a character might be one race in one version of a story and not in another? It’s amazing how someone can insist that they are color blind while in the next sentence that a black man shouldn’t be allowed to do something because he’s black.

But they cast a white woman as his sister! That’s impossible. Very understandable retorts, as at no time in human history have siblings been of different races. That is understandable, at least from the mindset of a comic that originated in the years of the Comics Code, when miscegenation laws were still on the books.

So for all the cries that it would just be too confusing to have a white guy on the pages and a black guy in the film, this cancellation is for you. No longer do you have to worry about how to explain to your kid who is confused by two versions of a character looking different how to be racist while insisting that you’re not. Now it’s not an issue. As of 2015, the only Human Torch will be a black guy. And I’m sure there won’t be a problem with that, since of course, race had nothing to do with this in the first place, right?

(for more info on the cancellation - which is not yet official, but well backed with evidence - go to Bleeding Cool)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.